Update: Valve is working hard to boost Steam Deck production, despite supply chain issues, to get gamers their handhelds sooner rather than later.
The Valve Steam Deck is almost here, with the first wave of devices shipping out in just a few days. Valve’s ambitious handheld PC has quite a bit going for it, from its relatively powerful components, to its modest price, to its versatile design. Granted, we’ve known from the start that not every Steam game will work on the Steam Deck, which has left many gamers wondering whether their favorite games will function properly. Now, thanks to the Steam Deck Compatibility tool, you can check for yourself.
Valve activated the Steam Deck Compatibility tool yesterday (February 22), and it’s exceedingly easy to use. Simply visit the website (https://store.steampowered.com/steamdeck/mygames) and sign into your Steam account. (You may need your phone handy, if you have two-factor authentication activated — and you should.)
Once you log in, the tool will sort your Steam library into four different categories: Verified, Playable, Unsupported and Untested. These categories are pretty self-explanatory. Verified means that the game will work on a Steam Deck just about perfectly. Playable means that the game will work, but may require tweaks or workarounds to run at full tilt. Unsupported games won’t work at all, and Untested games are anyone’s guess. Presumably, some Untested games will work and others won’t, and Valve will have a better idea how to categorize them as players start experimenting.
Granted, none of this does you much good if you wanted to buy a Steam Deck in order to play a game you don’t already own. The SteamDB website has a list of 766 different games that are guaranteed to work on Valve’s handheld device, and we imagine that this number will grow once the Steam Deck launches. Furthermore, if you buy a Steam Deck, the Steam store will show you how well any given game should run before you buy it, using the four ratings discussed above.
It's worth noting that we don’t know exactly how much of a quality gap there will be between Verified and Playable. It will probably vary from game to game.
Tom’s Guide should have a full review of the Steam Deck ready within the next few weeks. In the meantime, it seems like a fairly niche product — albeit a promising one. Early hands-on impressions were extremely positive, citing the Steam Deck’s good performance and comfortable design. The battery life seems to be a little less than what Valve advertised, however. As such, if you’re planning to play demanding titles, you may want to do so close to an electrical outlet.